Are websites going the way of hi-fi?

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speakerHi-fi was the in thing. People were caught up in a competition to out-do their friends to own and set up the most perfect quality of stereo sound in their living rooms. We were all used to the terminology and technology of turntables to play our vinyl – the diamond stylus; the cartridge; belt drive or direct drive . Then there were speakers – woofers and tweeters.

Now-a-days the quality of sound seems no longer of importance. We listen to music recorded onto solid state via cheap white (usually) wires. The depth, richness, and clarity of the sound matters no longer – it is usually accompanied by traffic, chatter and background noise. We just want music delivered loud to block out the world – this is becoming part of the purpose.
Similarly we are experiencing a shift on the web. There is a change of focus from highly engineered and designed business websites to business Facebook pages with elements of branding. The main function has shifted from one of informing to one of engagement. Why bother with the expense of bespoke design when you can have a branded Facebook page set up which includes a very familiar feedback and engagement platform built in for free. There are adverts and your corporate colour is not blue – this does not matter anymore, in fact, users are starting to feel more comfortable using something within the Facebook skin than having to understand someone else’s UX designed bespoke navigation on a website. We want to do stuff and engage, being less bothered about pixel-perfect design.

Business is dashing to get out there onto Facebook. The vast majority of corporate advertising makes reference to their Facebook pages. Return on Investment (ROI) has been usurped by Return on Relationship (ROR).

Technology has taken that most powerful of marketing facets – word of mouth – and made it possible to “tell all your friends” at once. “Tell the world” is becoming less powerful and trusted (recent press re. Tripadvisor) it is the ability to narrow this to a focus on who you know that is driving the business Facebook trend.